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Going Down the Rabbit Hole

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I realize that I've been rather evangelical about my new found discovery. I'm not trying to reach the skeptics. I'm hoping to reach the person like me who was diligently following the plan, and got nowhere. In some cases, maybe they even got worse.

A lot of the pushback I get is "Glad low carb worked for you, but it won't work for everyone." I actually like that argument, because then the corollary to that is "High carb/low fat diet doesn't work for everyone, either."

If you have no insulin resistance, then high carb/low fat diet will most likely work for you, and you'll have no idea why anyone else has trouble losing weight. Those of us who can't lose weight must be eating fast food, or eating cookies, or maybe we're just stupid. We're not trying hard enough. In other words, the blame has been shifted on us. Can't lose weight? It's your fault. Maybe it's your genetics, so just accept being fat, and that you're going to get diabetes and heart disease.

I'm glad I'm not a person that takes no for an answer. No one tells me what I can or can't do.

So what led me to go deeper down the rabbit hole is this notion a calorie is a calorie, and calories in - calories out and all will be well. Except as we ALL know, weight loss rarely ever fits neatly into that equation. The explanation is then, "Well we can't predict what the body does. There's a lot of variables."

I'm a math and science minded person. That notion of "other variables" tickled at the back of my mind.

One of the reasons my boss both loves and hates me is because I question everything. I don't know why, but I have an instinct for when something isn't quite correct. And I start searching. I have been called a "bloodhound" for problems. Maybe not a term of endearment, but I'm not bothered by it. I take it as a compliment. I care more about being effective, than being popular. I work in aerospace. I happen to work in an industry where finding problems in your coworker's logic is rewarded. It saves lives.

I was once told by my favorite professor that all of science is based on discrediting your colleague's theories. It was on that premise that I started wondering why we just accept high carb/low fat is the only healthy way to live. How did scientists decide that fat and cholesterol was killing us? There was contradictory information. My grandfather had bacon and eggs for breakfast every day. He went into his 70s without diabetes and never took a single statin. He died of cancer due to smoking. The egg yolk didn't kill him.

Fortunately, I live in an age when there is lots of information available.

I want to take a short minute to thank sparkers SparkBirdy and LadyRose who helped point me in the right direction. I was able to find what I was looking for in very short order. I might have spun my wheels a bit longer if I wasn't able to hone in on it right away. I checked out "The Paleo Diet" and "Protein Power". It clicked.

I found a very interesting interview with Gary Taubes, author of "Good Calories, Bad Calories". He said he was writing an article about salt and had an interview with a shady scientist. This scientist claimed he successfully convinced the nation that salt raised blood pressure, and he also helped turn everyone against fat and saturated fat. He hung up the phone and called his editor. If this guy had anything to do with the health mantra of low fat diets, then something wasn't right.

I'll let you make up your own minds. If you have a lot of weight to lose and have found it near impossible to lose fat. If you have an uncontrollable addiction to sweets. If you are impossibly hungry all the time. If you constantly overeat even when you aren't hungry, and don't know why you can't stop. If you have tried the standard diet over and over and failed. If you have insulin resistance, and it keeps getting worse, not better.

I offer the chance to take the blue pill, or the red pill. Don't read any of these, and continue on your way. Take the red pill if you want to see what they don't want you to see about diet and nutrition.

"The Paleo Diet" by Loren Cordain. This isn't personally my favorite book, but it was the first one I read that encouraged me to look further. I have heard "The Primal Blueprint" is better, but I haven't personally read it yet. These might appeal to you if you are at all interested in learning how our species has eaten for 2.5 million years. Low fat diets have only been around 30 years. We were not built to tolerate grains very well. We could very well adapt to a high grain diet, but it will take another 10,000 years of evolution eating it. You and I will most likely get sick and die eating a high grain/low protein diet.

"Protein Power" by Drs. Michael and Mary Eades. Now this one is my favorite. It is a very detailed explanation on how the metabolism works. Insulin and insulin's effect of fat storage is in every first year medical textbook. I can't make sense why doctors continue to treat obese patients with more carbohydrates, since carbs stimulate insulin. Lightbulbs went off in my head. I couldn't lose fat because I kept pushing my insulin up with carbs. I was only eating "whole wheat" carbs, but it didn't matter. I'm insulin resistant enough that it prevents my fat loss. Hallelujah. This was my red pill.

"The 30 Day Low Carb Diet Solution" by Drs. Michael and Mary Eades. This is a less biochemistry detailed version of "Protein Power". If you just want to know the basics in layman's terms with an easy to follow meal plan, this is it. See shocking details like the USDA food pyramid is identical to a pig farmer's feed formula. Want to be as skinny as a pig? Then eat according to the government dietary recommendations.

If you are middle aged, try "The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle" also by the Eades.

"Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes. I avoided this book for so long when my eyes were shut. If you believe a calorie is just a calorie, then this book is anathema. I should have read this years ago - this is would have opened my eyes earlier. This is a VERY science and research heavy book, though. If you are a science minded person, this one will appeal to you. If you would prefer a condensed, more reader-friendly book, then read "Why We Get Fat, And What to Do About it". I have not read the latter, but I have heard that it is an easier read.

Don't have time to read? Try watching "Fat Head" by Tom Naughton. It is on Hulu, and you can also watch it on streaming Netflix. You should be able to get enough intro knowledge into all of the things that I have been going on and on about for weeks.

Skeptical? This is all fad diet nonsense? I'm not going to try and convince you. I still invite you to check out the books and make up your own mind.

Some will read this and immediately hate it because it challenges everything they thought they knew. Believe me, I know how you feel. That's fine. Don't try to digest it all right now. Come back to it later.

For those with an open mind, come with me, and take a deeper look.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • LADYIRISH317
    You're yet more proof that there is no one "right" answer for everybody. You're doing what works for you, that's all that matters. Congratulations on the progress you've made!
    3511 days ago
  • EGRAMMY
    emoticon emoticon emoticon Thank you.

    I was a self styled carb poisoner of me. Had to shake that habit.

    I appreciate your intelligent information along with Sparkbirdy so I can talk with friends and relatives. Also to find excellent references.
    3512 days ago
  • JUSTBIRDY
    Hey, thanx for the plug! The only reason I am so vocal about it is that I was in so much misery on my old plan, and then found a successful way. I am also in an industry where I get paid to break people's stuff. I think that as a tekkie, Protein Power really appeals to me. The 30 day book is a great book for people who really don't want to think much about it.
    So, have you visited the Jack Kruse blog (er.... black hole) yet?
    3512 days ago
  • CAROLJEAN64
    Thanks for your thoughtful and fact filled reply to some of the criticisms you must have received. I know I was skeptical when I I read your initial post. I appreciate your replying with class! My son is using the Paleo diet, I'm not sure how it's working for him. I agree we may have the same or very similar digestive process we had 10,000 years ago, but the pace of our lives and the stressors are different. I do know, however, that I feel more satisfied longer after I have a meal with protein and that a protein bar is my favorite snack for a full filling.
    3512 days ago
  • LUCYSUNFLOWER
    Thanks to you I am getting (saved to my wishlist for now!) Eades' "30 Day Low Carb Diet Solution". I am in grad school and just don't have any leftover brain power for complexity, so your summaries are greatly appreciated... emoticon

    I am not addicted to sugar, but pasta is my weakness - even whole wheat. Carbs have been easier for me to prepare, but the lack of weight loss has been frustrating. And the hunger that flares up is REALLY frustrating. Just a few days of low carb eating has made some positive changes. I don't expect the weight to just fall off, and I am not weighing myself. I am going to pay attention to how I feel - blood sugar stability, energy, mental focus, etc. I need all that more than I need a smaller butt!

    I really truly deeply appreciate your blogs that chart your exploration and journey. Your scientific approach appeals to me (if it weren't for school I'd be right in there with you!) and I am so glad you're sharing what you're learning.

    emoticon
    3512 days ago
  • TERP_TERP
    A lot of what you say makes sense. I have never read any of the books, but I totally agree that each body reacts differently to different foods. Thanks for the information! emoticon
    3512 days ago
  • ANDREA409
    Like you, I'm a "never settle for no as an answer." I'll dig and dig for information on my hunches. I remembered being a size 4 ten years ago. Now I'm a 12. Clearly my body is capable of being a 4 and enjoyed being a 4. So, it's not that my body wasn't capable of losing the weight. (The problem now is my shot adrenals, but that's not pertinent here. Or is it?) If I would have discovered this 'solution' of sorts years ago, I could have stopped abusing my body with grains and the never-ending ups and downs of sugar spikes and crashes, which ultimately ruined them. I can't stress ENOUGH how important the info you are putting out there really is.

    Don't ever stop listening to your gut. Your intuition seems to be dead on. I think of the people who destroy their bodies in so many different ways, but the root cause always seems to be the same: diet. Many go on suffering for decades, because they trust what the doctors are telling them. I feel for those people.

    I gotta check out that Taubes' book. I've read Primal Blueprint, and it was a lot of fun. Thanks for the Eades' recommendation as well.

    Continue down the rabbit hole...because at the end of the day, no one cares about your health and well-being nearly as much as you do. Who else is going to fight for answers? It's in your hands and yours alone.
    3512 days ago
  • BEARCLAW6
    Ok, ok....between you and Sparkbirdy, I guess you have finally convinced me to read the Protein Power book. Good work!
    3512 days ago
  • SHEL1181
    I agree that everyone's body has different needs and what may work for one person won't work for another. I'm a Type 1 diabetic so the higher protein diets work well for me. Truly the only carbs I refuse to do without are fruits and potatoes (unfortunately in the form of fried things) emoticon My sugar levels are greatly improved with less carbs though so I limit the fried potato usage to maybe once a week.
    The idea that eggs cause high cholesterol I think is a load of you know what but it's been ingrained in everyone's brains and it's hard to disbelieve something that has been forced down our throats for so many years.
    3512 days ago
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